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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  December 19, 2012 1:30am-2:00am EST

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right now. ♪ ♪
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>> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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tavis: how about that? it is called detroit, a grinning when the -- a grammy-winning jazz artists. he worked with the late great miles davis. in just a bit, another special performance. marcus miller, i am delighted to see you. >> i know exactly what you mean. tavis: the last time we talked was on my radio program, and you took off to go to europe. i am at my house on line and a headline pops up that says marcus miller in fatal switzerland bus crash.
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i am at my house, and i screamed. i had just talked to you, i had seen you days prior. i could not believe you had died in a bus crash. the driver of the bus did die. what was going on in switzerland. >> we had just finished and monte carlo, the jazz festival. at the show, we had a long trek to holland. that is about 3:00, 4:00 in the morning. i am starting to come up, and i feel like it is vertigo. the impact causes the bus to
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fall on its side. from all the people here, crashing into people, it was pretty crazy. after a while, the rescue workers came and got us. the guy was like 23 years old, these guys that are amazingly talented. i was terrified. i thought it would prevent them from playing or whatever. ours is going from guide to die. let me see you move your lips. where is the other driver? he did not make it. it was horrible. in my situation, it is really difficult. i was glad that the other guys
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are ok. everybody is home and recuperating. tavis: those of us that are marked as miller fans, that track, that new project was his first in public since he survived this crash. i am delighted he is alive and on this program. my man market still has it. we can hear this track and his own interpretation there. this project, renaissance, it really does bring together these young cats that you talked about. why has it been important for you? you reached back and found these guys in the early '20s that you have taken on the road with you.
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why has that been important for you? >> i had done a tour where i revisited, i used to work with miles and 80's. -- in the 80's. this is where we play the music. i knew he would hate it if we played the music the same way. how can i find a new twist on this music? maybe i will find some young guys. we had a really successful tour, and my next project and what to do with the young kids. when i write music, it will be for them. tavis: what is your impression, obviously, your band is tight. we go looking for these young
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guys, was it hard to find them? >> there are not a whole lot of them, but i look for a lot of guys with great technique. there is not that many people that, when you hear them, i will give you an example. if you heard some musicians that are technically gifted, they must practice a lot. i had a girlfriend like that. a whole other level. they make you feel things, you know what i mean? someone that doesn't just have a command of their instrument, they can make you feel something or think about something.
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to a slight't mean based players, but when you think of base, you think of accompaniments. you don't think of the bass or bass player being the leader and out front, writing music around that instrument. -- camenot in the 70's up in the 70's, i wanted to play and a funk band. fits: it doesn't quite in, does it? >> it happens to be from 73-78, the five most glorious years. we have bootie doing his thing.
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they are leading their own bands. i thought that is what the world was like. it never occurred to me that it was an unusual time in music history. people ask me this question, the base is basically a background instrument. in urban music or black music, it has a much higher profile. but in funk music, bass is a superstar. it is like that for me. tavis: how is id you were not intimidated by miles davis to the point of writing it out with
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him and for him? >> i did not start writing for him. he is coming out of retirement and he is looking for young guys. can you show up with columbia -- at columbia studios in two hours? it was intimidating. how music is so important to me, the intimidation was before it started. he doesn't have time to be intimidating. it is wonderful at his house. he is making this gumbo, and he
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had this yellow jamaican hot sauce. he is pouring it in the pot, will you play the b flat? i will have to eat thsi gumbo, -- this gumbo. i was too intimidated to say no. i was with him for a couple of years and i said to him, i want to leave your band because i want to develop as a bass player, composition, producing, working with aretha franklin. i want to see how much i can grow and develop. he said, if you need me, let me know. a couple years later, i said, i have music for you. do you want to check it out? i was living in new york, i
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brought the music. he said, i love it. but i't have a band, played the instrument on the demo. i want to sound just like that. i ended up playing all the instruments. you realize, this is serious. it came and a couple of days. keep going. on friday, i said, and the trumpet. i was very intimidated because now you will play the trumpet on something that i wrote. that is not right, but i don't know how to tell and is not right. when will you tell me what to do? i said, i know you know how with
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this supposed to sound. stop fooling around. don't come in here. after three minutes, it started sounding so good that i got comfortable. he is looking at me like -- tavis: you mentioned sheila, our makeup artist that works here every day. walking around the studio playing never too much. ims luther to this day, that is your project. you must miss him more than i do. >> it is really a big hole that will never be filled. he was singing background and i was playing bass. all these young musicians in new
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york, at that time that i met with sir, i was a musician's job. people out in front to keep the audience entertained. you know what i mean? luther said, we have to take that attitude right now. he will sit me down. he would break it down and say, vibrato here. half chest voice. he is making the -- he is breaking it down on that level. he was a musician that sang. after a while, he was also the number one background singer. whoever needed background, he would arrange that.
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and that is lucrative. if using non those commercials. he said, i want to do my own project. he got us to do a demo, and that was never too much. he took a year-and-a-half to get signed. the record companies were looking for his gimmick. he finally got signed, and the rest is history. tavis: marcus miller has so much history, i can't even do justice. all of the great he has played, it is in his own right, he is one of the greatest if not the greatest baseball player. i love stanley clarke, all of them. i loved marcus miller. i can't find the right words to express how grateful i am that
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you and your band are still alive. >> can i take a minute to thank everybody? i got so many e-mail's edit text messages. it is like being in your own funeral. the love is overwhelming, i want to thank everybody. tavis: i hate the incident, but i am glad you got a chance to feel the love. if you haven't heard his music, shame on you. if you missed the detroit peas, stick around for this. the upcoming, his interpretation of the jackson five classic. you have never heard anything like this. thanks for watching and keep the faith. ♪
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♪ >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with no well paul starkey on the legendary trio of peter, paul, and mary.
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>> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contritions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> be more. >> be more.
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